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Busting Six Free-Market Fictions


Busting Six Free-Market Fictions

Frances Moore Lappé

The following is drawn from the new book, World Hunger: 10 Myths, by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins.

Being "free" sounds great—like being free to eat or to have a job at a living wage; so surely a "free market" is the way to ensure these important human freedoms. Right?


While it may not get us anywhere it is hopeful at least that more and more people clue into the fact that this so called "free market" has sold us a bill of gods and the costs of that bill are now coming due in the way of environmental destruction and warfare.

The system that has made us subject to the whims of this so called "free market" has made slaves of almost all of us as we labor on anothers behalf to line his pockets with more money just to get our bellies filled.


Freedom in its purest sense ended when there remained no more frontier in which one could forge one's own path. Absent that frontier, only relative freedom exists. Those who still live freely off of the land, such as Amazonian native peoples, are being squeezed out by "free market" forces.


Except, for the most part the existence of this virgin "frontier" hasn't existed for thousands of years - the last real frontier being when the descendants of the Asian Bearing Strait-crossers reached the southern cone of South America - or maybe more recently the Polynesian canoe-navigators discovering and settling New Zealand. Since then, what was called "making ones way in the frontier" was actually the robbing of land from other people.


The biggest myth about "free markets" is that the excel in everything else in "giving us what we want." The other is that "free markets" optimize the efficient use of resources of all kinds. Oh, and they promote human imagination and innovation.

Well, to put it bluntly, bullshit. They excel at giving us what "they" (the owners of production) want us to want from a profit maximizing perspective. They then psychologically engineer, or fool, the masses of people into wanting things they never wanted or needed through the psychological tools of the entertainment and advertising media.

For example, there are literally infinite possible "better mousetrap" alternatives in the world of personal surface transportation - which require no technological breakthroughs, that people would beat a path to. But you will never see such products or services in stores on the streets because they would displace the far more profitable alternatives - and through their social engineering media tools, suppressing the ability to imagine that any alternatives are even possible!


Too bad that the messengers on the Koch Brothers' and ALEC's "line" continually push the idea that this Earth can't support the existing population numbers. They don't want to discuss fairer forms of distribution or wiser uses of existing resources.

This should be repeated often. Thank you, Ms. Lappe:

"Ironically, the market-is-all-we-need dogma ends up destroying the very conditions necessary to realize the market's prized strengths—openness, competition, and transparency.

"In large part as a consequence of this dogma, now spreading far and wide, one-quarter of humanity now suffers nutritional deprivation in world of vast food abundance. This is what I mean by "dangerous" fictions—ideas that are literally killing us that we can crack open and leave behind."


The "free market" doesn't really exist because government intervenes all the time in favor of those "special interests" who have effectively purchased for themselves a "legal monopoly" from the government. The owners of these "legal monopolies" use the power of government for their own gain. This is especially true today when the wealthy and the corporations can for all practical purposes determine "who" is allowed to run for public office. Especially as usually the most highly financed candidate will win election over those who can't afford to spend the millions of dollars necessary today. Then too one of our two major political parties no longer cares what happens to most of us. Only to those (the wealthy and the corporations) who provide the party with most of its "income"...


"If by "free market" we mean one unbounded by rules, it does not exist."

I would disagree. In fact such a market does exist. It's called the "black market". The black market is the closest we have to what those promoting a "free market" want. No gov. regs, no taxes, the strong survive, the weak are weeded out due to competition, every man for himself, etc. Other than the black market, a so-called free market has never existed. It's a utopian myth that has no basis in reality.


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